Well the upside is that the tanks did not explode and they are safe in their new positions, so far all livestock are doing well, parameters are good for both tanks. The only casualty was one beautiful piece of coral on the largest piece of liverock in the reef tank. When I was lifting it from the icechest into the tank it knicked the lip of the tank, knocked off the coral which broke from it's position and hit the floor, fragged into three pieces (one large, one medium, and a little sliver) The largest piece sustained the most damage and I'm not sure how well it will recover, the medium frag is doing well and the sliver went in the trash. Other than that just a few stem plants that came loose moving the 29g planted tank.
Although I thought I had this thing as prepared as possible and ran it through my head a dozen times here are a few learning lessons that I hope will help the next person attempting this. Oh it took 4 hours from start to finish then cleanup took another 2 hours.
1) Pre-arrange something (preferably outside) for the 2yr old and dog to be doing while you are working or you will have a dog try to drink saltwater and a daughter try and catch nemo in the icechest to "rescue him"
2) If you think you have enough top off water handy, make another 5 gallons and make sure it is all brought to temp. Water in 5g jugs stays colder than the air temp
3) Do not use your wifes good cooking spoons/pitchers to remove nasty smelling sandbed from a saltwater tank
4) Have a plan for discarding the old sand and water (black trash bags in storage totes will rip and spill nasty water all over you when trying to lift them out of the transfer tubs into the dumpster behind walmart)
5) Catching 8 Black Neon Tetra
, 8 Rasbora, 3 Catfish, and 1 Gourami in a fully planted tank is not easy. Nor is catching Clown Fish and Pajam Cardinal's in a reef tank. Set aside enough time for that. None of the "tricks" I read worked. The saltwater fish I left until I removed the liverock, even then they were not too excited about the net. The catfish and a few stubborn rasbora/tetra decided they wanted to stay with the tank so they hung out in an inch of water.
6) Even though you measured, measured again, and measured one more time and were 100% confident you had the exact spot picked out for the tanks, make sure the back of the stand isn't going to block the only electrical outlets in reach (I know, putting a tank centered on a wall outlet probably isn't the smartest idea to begin with). If it does and you don't realize it until it's already filled back up you will be removing the entertainment center power strip (that has a flush wall plug that swivels rather than comes straight out) so that you can actually get it plugged in.
7) Have plenty of extra drop towells laying around, you will make a huge mess
8) If you buy a 'new to you' fully established tank and have to tear it down for the transport home anyways, take that opportunity to put in a fresh sand bed. Have the sand at the ready and just get it done the first time so you don't have to tear the tank back down a week later.
Well I think that's about it off the top of my head. Overall it was a success, we are both loving the tanks being switched and the new sand in the reef tank makes a huge difference. Fish already look more happy. I can't stress enough how uttery disgusting that old sand was, not sure what the heck I was thinking keeping it in there.
Moving the 29g (biggest worry) was a piece of cake with a couple helpers. I drained it down so where there was about an inch of water above the substrate (for the fish that refused to leave). It took two people to gently lift the tank and one helper (wife) to move the stand to it's new pre-marked home (we used masking tape to outline where we wanted it (worked great by the way). Then SLOWLY walk the tank the 10ft and set it back on the stand, simple.
It was a ton of work, made a huge mess of the driveway, hallway, kitchen, garage, clothes, shoes, etc. Went through a half a bottle of jack daniels and taught the 2yr old a couple colorful new words (when the coral fell). But end result is well worth it.